New details emerging this week on what Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergi Lavrov has dubbed “an historic moment” following the Saudi King’s visit to the former Soviet state suggests that King Salman was on a shopping spree for arms. With a purse $3 billion dollar heavy, the King was looking for serious military hardware.
First on the King’s list was Russia’s advance S-400 air defense shield. The S-400 is a sophisticated set of missiles with different ranges. The S-400 is a powerful deterrent designed to intercept aircraft and other missiles. The scope of its threat response is said to be up to 400 Kilometers or 250 miles. Other items on the royal shopping list included grenade launchers, assault rifles and anti-tank rockets.
According to a joke taking the rounds among international defense analyst, the Russians were so excited on the King’s first state visit to their country that the honor guard for the royals featured an orchestral welcome, odd considering Saudi Arabia’s seemingly hard-line stance on ambiance.
Despite murmurs in some defense circles that the new Saudi- Russia deal is as a result of increasing frustrations the Saudi’s are said to be having with the US Administration of President Donald Trump, our evidence suggests that this deal is not a foreign relation coup.
Earlier this year, President Trump penned an arms deal with the kingdom worth close to $110 billion. That agreement helped US defense stocks to soar to the roof. Another 10 year defense package between the US and the Saudis in the areas of close cooperation and training with Saudi forces is said to be worth a whopping $300 Billion.
Despite the seemingly huge publicity King Salman’s Russia visit generated in both the conventional news media and social media, the $3 billion arms deal inked with Russia is a drop in the bucket compared to the Saudi’s dealings with its long time ally in Washington.
“It will take more than a $3 billion arms deal with Russia for tremors to reverberate in the Saudi-American partnership that has been 84 years in the making” says a diplomatic analyst familiar with Saudi- American relations.